Is there anything more frustrating to deal with as a manager than an employee who doesn’t respect you? They can show this in little ways, from failing to respond to a greeting, not following directions, to openly defying their assignments, and seeing to it that others on the team do the same. All it takes is one employee who thinks she knows better than you to start to develop cracks in the foundation of your team. How should a manager go about leading a team, knowing full well at least one employee won’t be listening or taking what you say seriously?
Here are a few pieces of advice:
Talk to the employee in private.
Make it clear that you’re aware that she isn’t entirely on board with what you’re doing and ask what’s going on. This will require treading a fine line between seeming weak and seeming overbearing, but it’s one that needs to be done. Explain, in detail, what you’re seeing from this employee and tell her why it’s not appropriate. Don’t plead for cooperation, but re-establish the hierarchy in the office.
Extend a helping and helpful hand.
Try to find ways to incorporate this strong-willed employee’s insights, talents, and opinions into how the team functions in a way that makes the employee feel they’ve got a role to play, but one that isn’t above yours. Sometimes employees will act out because they feel underappreciated or overlooked. There’s got to be a way to let that person’s skills and abilities shine without obviously giving in to their disrespectful ways. If they have a particular interest in a project, give them a more significant role to play, but don’t let them fully take over.
Watch your language.
Words matter, and using ones that convey that you mean business are essential to use when dealing with an employee who feels they know better than you. Set clear and distinct deadlines; set boundaries for tone; make it apparent to the employee and the team what you will and will not accept. Don’t ask for permission or let the employee-run the show. But don’t overuse certain phrases as that can cause them to lose meaning.
Remember: Employees, like you, are people too.
If they feel you don’t respect them, what incentive do they have to respect you? You don’t have to be buddies with your subordinates, but it’s very simple to start to earn respect by showing it. This might seem counter-intuitive, of course, but it’s entirely possible showing a little consideration, throwing around a few “please” and “thank yous” might start to turn the tide in your favor.
There will always be people who want to undermine you, to make you look bad in front of the team or your boss, or just don’t like you. You’re the manager, you’re the boss. You need to find a way to correct the situation before it poisons the whole team, and if it comes down to it, you’re the one who needs to be ready to take action to eliminate the bad apple before the whole bushel is ruined.
Consult with Debbie’s Staffing for Advice
Not sure how to proceed from here? Contact Debbie’s Staffing for advice, consultation, or, if worse, comes to worst, help in finding a new team member. The team at Debbie’s Staffing are highly skilled and ready to assist you in solving whatever problems come your way.